What gives with the McCarthy tape?
The newly released tape of the House minority leader suggesting the resignation of President Trump may bespeak a swamp that's more contaminated than any of us can imagine. First, who did the recording? And second, who released it? CNBC reports that Representative Liz Cheney denies leaking the tape of her conversation with Kevin McCarthy.
A spokesperson for Cheney, one of two Republicans on the House select committee probing the Capitol riot, said in a statement Friday morning that the congresswoman "did not record or leak the tape and does not know how the reporters got it."
Rachel Maddow played a portion of the tape in conjunction with a report on the upcoming hit piece on Trump, This Will Not Pass by Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns. They allege that on January 10, 2021, McCarthy talked privately for 45 minutes with Representatives Scalise, Cheney, and Emmer to discuss his thoughts on asking Trump to step down. On tape, McCarthy admits that Trump resigning would be a long shot (thankfully). But the 25th Amendment is mentioned, and that thickens the plot.
The 25th Amendment deals with the inability of the president to perform the duties of office. This is often temporary, such as during certain medical procedures. But not knowing who released the tape of McCarthy's discussion opens us up to thinking about the amendment's language to force the president from office. The amendment has language that opens the door for Deep State mischief.
[W]hen the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.
McCarthy is caught on tape saying, "This is what I think, we know that it'll pass the House. I think there's a chance it'll pass the Senate, even when he's gone." What does McCarthy mean by that? If Trump were to resign, there wouldn't be much to vote on. He goes on to say, "Now, this is one personal fear I have. I do not want to get in any conversation about Pence pardoning. Again, the only discussion I would have with him is that I think this will pass, and it would be my recommendation you should resign."
This is looking a lot like the tip of an iceberg. Are the phone conversations of members of Congress recorded routinely? Do they know they're being recorded? And why is only this portion of the tape being released? And why now?